Getting COVID, flu shots sooner may provide optimal protection ahead of expected peak

Now might be the best time to get your vaccines as doctors expect spikes in cases of the flu and COVID-19.
Published: Oct. 9, 2023 at 9:47 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — It’s that time of year again: flu season. It’s fast approaching and this fall, COVID-19 is in the mix. This Monday morning, both flu and COVID vaccines are available. Experts say early data shows the vaccines provide protection against the strains that are currently spreading, and this week would be the perfect time to get those shots.

Vaccines start providing protection about two weeks after you get the jab. The best protection usually comes a month after and can last several months. In 2022, mid to late November was the peak flu and COVID spike. Though it’s hard to predict when it will be this year, early numbers show that same trend.

The flu shot on the market right now targets four strains of the virus — two of the A-strain and two of the B-strain. The COVID-19 vaccine also targets multiple strains of the virus, including some that are currently spreading.

Dr. Gary Kirkilas with Phoenix Children’s says the shots were designed based on early data and trends of the viruses. But even if they slightly miss the mark on which strains are infecting the most people, he says the vaccines will still help.

“Based on last season’s numbers, with late November having large numbers, I would say October is probably the best time to do it now,” Kirkilas said.

“A lot of times with kids, with influenza, they’re getting it at school, so if your child is sick with fever and cough — I know it can be really disruptive to your day — but keeping them home is really important because that’s where a lot of the spread occurring,” he said.

This year, doctors are encouraging their patients to get both vaccines at the same time. You can get both shots for free with most insurance. Both shots are available to anyone six months and older.

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